It wasn’t really necessary, but the temperature has risen several degrees since Tuesday evening in Marseille. Greeted like a demi-god at Marignane Airport by a crowd of OM supporters, Alexis Sanchez signed his one-season contract plus another option on Wednesday. “It embodies everything we need,” President Pablo Longoria said enthusiastically while introducing the Chilean star to the press, in the bowels of the velodrome. He is a player who can play in different positions and will allow us to improve. »
Exactly, what is the current level of the 33-year-old striker, which Udinese, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan have gone through? Before his contract expired on Monday, Sanchez stayed for three seasons with the Nerazzurri punctuated by 20 goals and 18 assists in 120 games, often in the Joker’s luxury boots.
Alexis Sanchez stats from three seasons he spent at Inter Milan
“He has been very valuable in the rotation, deciphered by Gregory Beasley, a former Paris Saint-Germain-trained defender who follows Serie A on beIN Sports. Especially two years ago, with Lautaro [Martinez] And Lukaku. But until last season, marked by the arrival of Edin Gekko, he did what he had to do. Every time he came, he had a lot of gas. »
‘It’s still a safe bet’
So of course, OM’s new 70th player is no longer the player he was a few years ago at Barcelona or Arsenal, 10th in the 2015 Ballon d’Or rankings, then able to stack 30 pawns and 15 bids for Arsenal in the 2017-18 season. His time with the Red Devils (2017-2019) will be categorized in the “flipping” section. But, even less severe than in his prime, the tiny striker (1.68 million) in Italy has proven far from being “carbonised”.
“When I saw that OM was on him, I thought it would be a good choice,” continued Paisley. “It remains a safe bet, always able to eliminate his opponent. At Inter, when he came back, he often circled around a point, whether it was Lautaro or Dzeko. Although 33 years old, he could still take depth and catch and found himself on a working base before dropping himself towards the surface.”
“I also think he needs a new challenge and that he can find him at OM, an excited club that will compete in the Champions League,” adds the beIN Sports consultant. Exactly what Sanchez said on Wednesday to the media, when he spoke of a “personal challenge” after playing in Italy, Spain and England.
“I like pressure, because things are tough to make it easier,” the 146-caps player dropped, two-time Copa America winner in 2015 and 2016. He will serve in Marseille, as his new coach Igor Teodor, the Serie A-born Croatian, has already witnessed , where he worked at Udinese, Juventus Turin (as an assistant) and then at Hellas Verona.
Will he be able to chain matches?
“Tudor loves warrior-minded players,” Beasley said. Alexis Sanchez enters this box. In 3-4-2-1 for new friend Dimitri Payet and Matteo Guendouzi, the Marseille new recruit – who admits he still lacks rhythm – can play in one of two positions to support the striker’s heart. But maybe not twice a week, between L1 and C1 , having tied three seasons to 44, 41 and 35 minutes respectively on average per game at Inter.
“Can it be consistent for an entire season? One can ask the question, Paisley agrees. But it remains an added value for OM. And not just on the field, as Pablo Longoria admitted on Wednesday.” In recent seasons, he has shown that he has a very high competitive level. , but it also gives credibility to our project, and the ability to bring other players back. “After enlisting his ninth recruit in a massive summer, the time seems somewhat similar for a slimming treatment in Marseille.